“Its not about what you wear, but how you live your life”

Remembering Oscar de la Renta

The fashion world suffered a tragic loss Monday, when news that renowned clothing designer, Oscar de la Renta, 82, had passed away at his home in Kent, Connecticut.

The celebrated artist left behind a legacy that spanned nearly 6 decades, with memorable designs donned by the world’s elite. His prolific career produced some of the most iconic designer pieces in the industry, as his gowns and garments were truly a vision of fairy tale.

La Renta came to fame in the sixties as one of the premier couturiers to beauty and power icon, Jaqueline Kennedy. This monumental period in his career led to a high-profile and lasting relationship with the ladies of the White House. Rumors spurned that Oscar de la Renta was the personal designer of the Presidential party, and every first lady, including very recently, Michelle Obama, have been photographed in La Renta designs. Even royalty donned the designers dresses, among them the vision of beauty herself, Princess Diana.

This classic era of his career spawned some of the most memorable pieces of the time, and left a lasting imprint on the industry.

He went on to become arguably the most decorated and philanthropic fashion designer in the world, winning countless awards and accolades throughout his career. In 1973 he was inducted into both the Coty Hall of Fame and the American Fashion Critic’s Hall of Fame respectively.

In 1990, Oscar de la Renta received the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Later that decade, a La Renta dress was featured famously in the prized television series, Sex and the City. The image of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), carefully undoing the black silk bow, opening the lid of the big white box, and unveiling the pink full-skirted dress with patent leather bow belt which she had been pining for in an earlier scene, became an instant classic. Every girl watching that episode immediately set out to find herself an Alexander Petrovksy- Oscar de la Renta- dress gifting beau.

It has been speculated that Parker, who is a symbol of beauty and fashion in her own right, is the muse that inspired much of La Renta’s later works.

In his later years, the world-renowned designer continued to produce an impressive catalog of works, featuring modern and elegant designs at the New York and Paris Fashion Weeks annually. He recently lent his expertise to the high-profile nuptials of George and Amal Clooney, as we covered in our latest blog. Alamuddin lived out every girls dream when she was fitted for her jaw-dropping wedding gown, designed and tailored by La Renta himself, on site in Venice, Italy.

Oscar de la Renta was an incredible force of nature and will be celebrated as one of the world’s greatest artists for years to come.

“The great thing about fashion, is that it always looks forward.” –Oscar de la Renta

Kiss of Couture
-Amy xoxo

Keeping up with the Clooneys: A Wedding in Couture

Iconic actor, George Clooney tied the knot with the beautiful human-rights lawyer, Amal Alamuddin in a private ceremony in Venice, Italy this month. If the long anticipated nuptials of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor wasn’t enough to keep the tabloids busy, then leave it to Alamuddin, whose impeccable style and grace dominated the Italian city, and turned the fashion world upside down.

Alamuddin arrived with her famous fiance on Friday, looking glamorous in a retro, Dolce and Gabana black-and-white striped dress, paired with round glasses and a custom hat-box. It was later that very evening however, when she really stole the show.

The future Mrs. Clooney stepped out in a daringly red waterfall gown by Alexander McQueen, with a high-low hemming that showcased her beautifully long legs and tiny waist. Her dark hair and golden skin paired perfectly with the bold red hue, resulting in a look that is just breathtaking.

The following day, the beautiful bride turned heads and teared eyes as she walked down the aisle in a custom Oscar de la Renta gown. The ivory tone and delicate lace was a perfect combination of classic elegance and modern style, much like Alamuddin herself. In an interview with Vogue magazine the bride-to-be stated of the world-class designer, “I can’t imagine anyone more able than Oscar to capture this mood in a dress… Meeting him made the design process all the more magical, as he is so warm and such a gentleman.”

Alamuddin stepped out with newlywed Clooney the following day in a floral printed, Giambattista Valli dress, hot off the Spring 2015 runway. Nude wedges and a pair of Italian shades polished off the look, and she stunned on the arm of the always handsome Clooney, who wore a tailored suit and tie.

On Monday, the couple made their way to a Venetian courthouse  to sign the official marriage documents, and Alamuddin wore traditional white, but in the form of a clean cut, sophisticated, and absolutely marvelous pant suit designed by Stella McCartney. A cream clutch, matching heels and classic brimmed hat with matching trim

The power couple has been dominating fashion media outlets since relationship rumors started swirling last year. The celebrity influence and political power of the famous duo has us wondering, are the Clooney’s the next Camelot?

Alamuddin’s chique style and flawless beauty is reminiscent of a young Jackie-O, and we can’t help but notice Clooney’s similarities to actor-turned-president John F. Kennedy. This is certainly a couple to keep on the radar. Who knows, maybe one day we will see their glowing faces in the White House? #Alamuddin16

Kiss of Couture,
Amy xoxo

Not Your Mother’s Pearls

“We believe Valentino would agree, a vintage-less closet is a boring closet”

You are wandering through the aisles of Cartier, caressing the soft leather of a carefully crafted handbag, tousling diamond-studded jewelry and catching the light in their clear and brilliant faces, feeling the weight of an 18k gold necklace around your neck, and marveling at their beauty and masterpiece: It’s enough to make any woman feel like a movie star circa 1930. But you sense that something is missing.

Amy’s vintage accessories of choice, a classic red Hermes Birkin, a gucci belt. Totally chic & current topped off with a panama straw hat from JCrew.

This memory is tangible, and yet now as you hold a new pair of Tiffany’s in your hands, the quality does not seem to match that of your grandmother’s vintage set. This is a case that many women are finding to be true nowadays, and it begs the question, has jewelry lost some of its grandeur?

Evidence exists everywhere that new fashion accessories does not hold up to its early-era predecessors. Nightmares of tarnishing metals, loose stones and stiff leathers dominate fashion blogs. But even so, there is a desire and a necessity for the new, and a quality that can still be found from today’s leading jewelers.

The decision to go vintage or buy new is not one to be taken lightly. It takes a special person to wear a vintage piece; someone with confidence, style, and that timeless grace that vintage accessories just seem to emanate. You can’t be the person that let’s the jewelry wear you.

You must also consider your investment. Is this a piece, new or old, that will only grow more valuable and significant with time? Or are you in the market for something a little less time sensitive? When considering these things, it is important to remember that no matter what, you should always pick what makes you feel most beautiful. Diamonds are, after all, a girls best friend.

Mixing modern pieces with antiques creates interest and layers of warmth to interior design.

 

 

The vintage vs. new debate doesn’t just apply to accessories and jewelry. Your home too, is a great space to experiment with vintage styles, because even though buying new pieces off of the showroom floor can be exhilarating, a simple addition of vintage furniture pieces can really add character to a space and make for a great conversation starter.

Kiss of Couture,
Amy xoxo

Weather the Winter Whites

A sampling of our accessories to pair with this look

Labor Day has come and gone, but the question still stands:

Is it safe to wear white?

The answer is an overwhelming YES! Winter white is all the rage this holiday season, and we are here to tell you how to break all the rules with this timeless look.

First things first; don’t be afraid of those elusive white jeans! Whether you opt for the skinny leg, the boot cut, or the trendy trouser fit, you really can’t go wrong with the white jean this season.

To give it a classy, anytime-wear update, we suggest layering this look with a cozy and fashionable cable-knit vest. This fabric is as timeless as the little black dress, and will keep you warm and Oxford chic all season long.

Want to bump it up a notch? Go for the sleek and flattering fit of the shearling fur vest, with a soft lining and bold collar.

Brave the elements all winter and add some flare to this ensemble with some stylish  lug-sole savvy boots, always a great choice for jazzing up those wicked cool winter-whites. Be daring with the stiletto heel in your favorite shade of tanned leather to offset the dramatic hue and you will be sure to receive compliments at your next outing.

Finally, don’t forget to accessorize! Make a statement with a thick scarf and over-sized rings, shop Colibri Collections for beautiful and trendy alligator cuffs, python clutches with dazzling mineral stones. They can be found online at http://www.couture-closets.com

 Give the people something to talk about, and let them know where you scored this fashionable look: Couture Closets, for all your style needs, A to Z.

~Kiss of Couture,
Amy xoxo

Sorry, Wrong Number

” I’m a size 6.”

Guess what? Maybe not.

The fashion industry, as well as clothing, shoes and accessories, is one of my greatest passions. A portion of that, is being able to provide that to you. My staff and I really love what we do.

One of the greatest tools for change lies within the sizes of clothing.Gone are the days of being a size 12 … 8 … 2. Designers today are often creating styles using a different sizing scale, one that American designers are starting to follow as well. Subsequently, at Couture Closets, a luxury consignment shop, we offer a wide selection of custom design that have been altered. In addition, all of our pieces on our website are featured with exact measurements, so that you know precisely what the fit will be. Bearing that in mind, we offer these three words of wisdom.

‘TRY. IT. ON.’

We have two beautiful dressing rooms that often reveal some new ideas and transformations. You know your body better than anyone. As you are shopping, you will see something you REALLY love, but then you put it back because ‘no … it’s not my size.’ Please. Take it off the rack and, all together now: ‘TRY. IT. ON!’ Quite often, I have seen guests come out of the dressing room, wearing an absolutely beautifully sized garment. SURPRISE! It fits; looks absolutely fabulous; and opens up your mind to variety. Finally! You have ‘moved out of your box’, and have the opportunity to increase your wardrobe.

Shoes are often the same way. If you love a pair but they could perhaps a half-size larger, or smaller than what you would usually wear, try them on. They just might be JUST RIGHT! However, if they feel too small, or too large, it depends on a few factors. There are a number of accessories that can make shoes fit and feel more comfortable! I ordered a pair of shoes online, that upon arrival, were a little too snug. Off to Sarge’s for a good week of stretching (give your shoes that are being stretched at least 8-10 days), and they fit great.

Hopefully, this will give you the ability to augment the joys of shopping! Come visit us at our brick and mortar store front at 192 E. Main in Spartanburg, or browse our online shop to find the right fit for you. If you have any questions, please call us! (864) 582-8272

~Kiss of Couture,
Amy xoxo

New York Fashion Week 2014

Amy in Carmen Marc Valvo Spring 2013 at his office in NYC

The biggest names in high-fashion have descended upon the Big Apple, ready to send their Spring collections down the catwalk at the highly anticipated, 2014 Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. A frenzy of strappy sandals, bold prints, and mermaid gowns dominated the runway as famous designers debuted their take on what’s in and what’s out this season. Here are a few highlights from some of our favorite collections:

Donna Karan: The DKNY designer debuted a collection laden with cinched-waisted crop tops, heavy belts, and pops of color. With a transition to evening wear, Karen showed off flattering and romantic mermaid gowns and skirts, paired with bold, tops and plunging necklines. This line is the definition of sexy and sophisticated.

 

Carmen Marc Valvo revealed his take on Spring ’15 with flirty  sheer fabrics, bold prints, and sexy strapless tops. This line covers all the 50 shades of grey; colors that were very popular at the year’s Fashion Week.

The highly anticipated  Alexander Wang show did not disappoint. This collection, which Wang claims is “inspired by tennis-shoes” is funky, flirty, and fashionable. The high-waisted, tailored trousers, and wildly-printed tops are great for work and social hour. Pair this playful look with a cute clutch and some strappy sandals and you are ready for the evening!

Trends to Love and Trends to Hang Up:

IN: High Waisted- let the midriff show! This fun and flirty style made a comeback last Spring and is here to stay, but with a more updated, refined look. Bring this trendy look up to fashion code with a higher fit and a bold belt to accentuate the waist!

OUT: Asymmetry- This look is SO 2013. This Spring is all about the tailored look, with clean necklines and hemmed drapings. Go strapless or opt for the plunging neckline instead, and you’ll be the eye of envy at the next soiree.

IN: Tweed- Where vintage Chanel and modern fashion meet. It’s a beautiful thing…So get those form fitting tweed blazers and pencil skirts to the dry-cleaners ASAP, or update your wardrobe with some new takes on this classic design. Vintage or modern, there’s no way to go wrong with this look.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE BEAUTY KIND

Passion. Transparency. Essential.   If I don’t have a connection with something, I become bored and restless. It needs to mean something to me on some level. During my latest mission to find a product to offer in my retail shop, Couture Closets, I discovered a new skin care line called Beautycounter. My immediate ‘catch’ was the essential commitment of the safe, toxin free products, that are not only good for you, but also adheres to extremely high environmental standards and stay true to their strict “Never List”.

This I also found interesting, and rather alarming. The cosmetic industry in the US has not been regulated thoroughly since 1938. REALLY?!?! Oh, yes. The US has banned only 11 ingredients where as Europe has banned 1300…just a little difference!  Beautycounter had banned 1500 ingredients from their product line up. I wanted to learn more and try the product.

The CounterTime line had me at “balm”! The cleansing balm, which can also be used as a mask is like bathing your face in liquid silk. Their Lustro face oils are just that…something to lust over. From calendula #1, jasmine #2 to ylang ylang & wild chamomile #3 are all designed to work in different ways. I personally use #2 for my skin type and #3 is designed to help acne and rosacea. Yes you fight oil with oil so don’t be afraid if you have oily skin.

The makeup line that just recently launched includes a tint, concealer and lip sheers. With makeup artist to the stars, Christy Coleman, as Head of Creative Design I knew it must be great…well…it’s incredible. I have pushed my Chanel, LaPrairie, Dior and even my beloved Armani to the sidelines. That takes serious “player power”!

 

This skin care and cosmetic lifestyle/product investigation, can be rather
overwhelming. I’ve discovered an essential tool to check the toxic levels
of many items I was using daily: EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.
It’s available as an app (skin deep). I have found this information so fascinating. The app also has a bar code scanner. I’ve been using this valuable tool like a ‘scanning fool!’ However, I do find the website to be more informative and seems to have more items listed. If you don’t find the product your using than get to the bottom of what is in it. Many companies are not so “transparent” for a reason….they are hiding something.  I am marking each product in my arsenal with a Sharpie, indicating it’s 0 – 10 ranking. Zero being the least toxic and ten being the highest. Most of the products I was using rated well over a 4.

I made a commitment to myself to reduce the toxins in my arsenal by 75%. Eliminating anything over a 3. My new newest obsession aka. Beautycounter rates 0-2 so I had certainly found a product to achieve my goals…from skin care to body care. They even offer a children’s line!

 

You will find the whole product line at Couture Closets located at 192 E Main Street in Spartanburg, SC or shop on-line with me at www.amyz.beautycounter.com

Kiss of Couture,

Amy

Turning back the clock…one layer at a time.

There are countless new ways to repair skin damage. Now, more than ever, people are becoming more aware of protecting their skin. SPF is included in so many products, cosmetics, even hair care products & that is such a great advancement. However, there are other professional level procedures, that do not include invasive operations. Many are performed as outpatient routines, like the one I am getting ready to tell you all about.

I recently found myself in a discussion with my friend, a local plastic surgeon Dr. Shawne Birchenough, about a particular laser procedure I had heard about, unofficially called “The South Beach Peel”. I had been admiring his wife’s beautiful skin as well as another friend of mine. She just happens to be the wife of  Dr. Micheal Orseck, Birchenough’s partner. I thought, ok these wives have a secret and I want to know what it is. After seeing before and after pictures I decided to take the plunge. Honestly, I was rather nervous & somewhat scared. I did it anyway.

My main target was repairing past sun damage and improving the area under my eyes. We all have sun damage, but it appears on different areas of our skin, primarily face, neck, & décolletage. After reviewing the pictures that are taken of you before you have the laser treatment, it confirmed the area I need improvement on was removing the sun damage.

Obviously these pictures have not been photoshopped or altered in any of my favorite apps like Facetune so brace yourself! #nomakeup #nofilter

First stop…numbing station! Once this took effect the laser treatment began. It lasted maybe 30 minutes and I did it without any medication. If your the nervous type, you may want to take a mild “happy” pill and have friend drive you home. Just warn them by showing them my picture of what you will look like when you come out.

I knew I had something in common with Faye Dunaway, portraying Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, numbing cream!
I knew I had something in common with Faye Dunaway, portraying Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, numbing cream!

Days 1 & 2 – Aquaphor was my new best friend. My pain level was alleviated by simply taking a few ibuprofen. Sleeping with Aquarphor is a bit tricky, just be prepared to wash your pillow case!

Day 1 shortly after treatment

 

Day 2: I had swelling under my eyes and extreme fighting of the skin. Brown spots from sun damage surfaced.
Day 2

Day 3 – different areas of my ‘previous’ skin, just began to slough away. I was excited to see the condition of my new skin being exposed as the day progressed! Say goodbye to brown spots!

Day 3 in the morning...by the end of the day I had shed all the brown spots that had surfaced!
Day 3 in the morning…by the end of the day I had shed all the brown spots that had surfaced!

Day 4 – my shedding was almost 100% finished! My skin was glowing, vibrant, & felt like a babies bum!

Day 4: most of the old skin had peeled away exposing beautiful skin asking for a second chance.
Day 4: most of the old skin had peeled away exposing beautiful skin asking for a second chance.

By the time Day 6 rolled around my skin was on cloud nine and so was I. All the worry I had put myself thru before the treatment was a passing memory…all that was left behind was skin like a new born and plump tight new skin that gave the impression of having cheek implants.

Day 6: no filter...just the amazing transformation!
Day 6: no filter…just the amazing transformation!
Tip: have on hand a tinted moisturizer with a high SPF. My favorite was Bobbi Brown tinted balm SPF50
Tip: have on hand a tinted moisturizer with a high SPF. My favorite was Bobbi Brown tinted balm SPF50

So, as you can see, doing this drastically improved my skin. FYI – ALWAYS use an SPF of at least 30-50, everyday. Just one more reason to wear big hats & big shades!

I say let’s bring back the parasol!

Kiss of Couture

xoxo Amy

For more details on this procedure contact:

Magnolia Plastic Surgery (Dr. Birchnough & Dr. Orseck)

Spartanburg, SC office (864) 560-6717

Greenville , SC office (864) 849-9330

or visit this website

http://www.sciton.com/products/bbl.html

http://foreveryoungbbl.com

3thicklines

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Amy’s Adventures in Austria (photo blog)

    What’s in your travel bag this summer? Tag us using#styleatoz in your travel journeys, favorite hotspots, fashion moments, food porn etc…we want to be in your loop! Some of Amy’s travel favorites #sensai #bronzer#LaRochePosay50 (no wrinkles here)!#missoniheadband #luxecityguides #chanel  

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 Madame Trussauds wax museum in Vienna, Italy

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Austrian Lipizzaner Stallions

           

Austrian National Library – Vienna, Austria

            

The gardens of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria are some of the most beautiful in the world

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Mount Lussari (Italian: Monte Lussari, German: Luschariberg, Slovene: Svete Višarje) a pilgrimage church, where according to legend in 1360 a shepherd discovered a statue of Virgin Mary.

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Pool and Voque!

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Lindau, Germany enjoying art by #Matisse & seeing the beautiful port
#LaJoieDeVivre

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And I end with a double Rainbow….hope you enjoyed a peek into my Summer. 

~Amy R Zimmer

Special Thanks to Santa Barbara Magazine

Where will your summer travels take you? Read about one of my favorite hot spots in this months issue of #SantaBarbaraMagazine …..may the #jetset summer life start this week! Stay posted to all my travels, a few secrets are in my suitcase! Thank you #SantaBarbaraMagazine for the shout out!

Follow them on instagram at @santabarbaramag and twitter at @santabarbaramag and download the latest copy of their magazine on your reader! www.http://sbmag.com/